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The Wealth of Nations: An Inquiry into the Nature & Causes of the Wealth of Nations
Adam Smith
An Inquiry into the Nature & Causes of the Wealth of Nations influenced a broad range of thinkers from David Ricardo to Karl Marx. Smith stresses the importance of the division of labor to economic progress. Opposing mercantilist monopolism, he offers a theoretical & historical case for free trade.
Five editions appeared before his 1790 death: 1776, 1778, 1784, 1786 & 1789. Edwin Cannan's team collated the 1st five. The differences were published with a 6th edition in 1904. They found numerous minor differences between the 1st & 2nd editions, both of which were published in two volumes. Differences between the 2nd & 3rd editions are major. Smith annexed these 1st two editions with the 1784 publication of Additions & Corrections to the 1st & 2nd Editions of Dr Adam Smith’s Inquiry into the Nature & Causes of the Wealth of Nations. He also published a 3-volume 3rd edition, incorporating Additions & Corrections & the 1st index. Additions & Corrections included entirely new sections. A 4th edition of 1786 had only slight differences from the 3rd. Smith notes in the opening Advertisement, "I have made no alterations of any kind." Cannan notes trivial differences between the 4th & 5th editions— misprints being removed from the 4th, different misprints being introduced.
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